Tiruchy's street libraries lose charm as corporation turns blind eye

The library at Burma Colony is no better as locals say the facility has been off-limits for over a year.
The books at the street library in Burma Colony gathering dusty. The locals say the facility has been closed for over a year
The books at the street library in Burma Colony gathering dusty. The locals say the facility has been closed for over a yearPhoto | MK Ashok Kumar.

TIRUCHY: Aiming to promote the habit of reading among residents, the corporation set up two street libraries in the city. While the library at Officers Colony, which opened first in December 2018, continues to offer books like those helpful in preparation for competitive examinations, local residents say it sees only a few visitors nowadays. What is more is the reading area is barricaded. The library at Burma Colony is no better as locals say the facility has been off-limits for over a year.

On the library in his locality, G Ramakrishna, a resident of Officers' Colony, said, "We don't know why the corporation barricaded the reading space but who cares about it when hardly any people visit the library? All the books, however, are in good condition, and the corporation should send them to KSCs." KSCs are knowledge and study centres which offer free internet access and reading space. Currently, there are two of them in the city.

On the library at Burma Colony, T Balaji, an elderly resident, said, "As there are visitors, the corporation has ignored its maintenance and kept it under lock and key. Compared to the street library at Officers Colony, this is a small one, and it's constructed in a congested area. Therefore, it was not getting any visitors from the very beginning. Thus, the authorities ignored it and it turned wastage of public money."

When enquired, a senior corporation official told TNIE, "We will see what can be done to save the libraries. If there are no possibilities, we will explore options to put the space to use for some other purpose."

Street libraries?

A street library is a library, built by a corporation or any local body, on a vacant space beside a road to promote reading habit among residents. The books for the libraries are mostly donated by local residents. Anyone can take books from them and also donate them.

The library in Officers Colony was constructed at a cost of Rs 20 lakh and can stock about 500 books. It was opened in December 2018. The Burma Colony library was constructed for Rs 14.30 lakh and can stock about 300 books. It was opened in August 2019

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